Novak Djokovic officially withdraws from the Miami Open
Novak Djokovic has officially ‘given up’ on his hopes of playing at the Miami Open this year, despite his coach Goran Ivanisevic insisting that they still had hope last week.
Djokovic will miss the sunshine double of Indian Wells and Miami, for a second consecutive year, due to the USA not allowing unvaccinated people to enter the country.
The law is set to change on the 11th May meaning that the Serb should be available to play the US Open hard court swing, something he was unable to do in 2022.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion knew that he would not be able to enter the last country on the ATP tour with vaccination restrictions, but decided to apply for a ‘special permit’ in a last ditch effort to play the first two Masters 1000 events of the year.
However, the waiver request was denied by Homeland security forcing him to pull out of Indian Wells, and he the verdict has not been changed for Miami.
Djokovic has received a lot of support throughout this process, including from the US Open.
“Novak Djokovic is one the greatest champions our sport has ever seen. The USTA and US Open are hopeful that Novak is successful in his petition to enter the country, and that the fans will be able to see him back in action at Indian Wells and Miami,” said the fourth Grand Slam of the year.
Novak Djokovic is one the greatest champions our sport has ever seen. The USTA and US Open are hopeful that Novak is successful in his petition to enter the country, and that the fans will be able to see him back in action at Indian Wells and Miami.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) March 3, 2023
He even had the backing of the Miami Open tournament director, and former No.4, James Blake, “We tried everything to allow Novak Djokovic to enter with an exemption, but that didn’t happen. It is obvious that we are one of the biggest tournaments and we would love to have all the best players in the world.”
Djokovic’s coach, Ivanisevic had said that the team had not ‘given up’, but it appears that there was nothing that they could do.
“We were trying to talk to the government, but that decision was not in our hands,” said the Croat.
The six-time Miami Open champion will not be able to add to his tally this year and withdrew alongside Sebastian Korda, who has been out since the Australian Open with a wrist injury, with the pair being replaced by Daniel Elahi Galan and Denis Kudla.
Djokovic losing the opportunity to play the sunshine double may also call an end to his seventh tenure as world No.1.
If Carlos Alcaraz, who is currently in the semi-finals, wins Indian Wells this week he will dethrone Djokovic at the top of the ladder.
However, for the Spaniard to stay at the top of the rankings he will need to retain the Miami Open title as well.
For Djokovic, it appears that he will restart his season on the clay in Monte Carlo.
The 35-year-old has not won the tournament since 2015, and will likely be hungrier than ever when the main draw begins on the 9th April.
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